Skip to main content

When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, on the surface it appeared that he was making a bold statement in support of women and their role in American government.  McCain’s motivation in this choice was purely political.  McCain is no Feminist and I have my doubts about Palin in this regard.

Feminism means different things to different people.  When stripped down to the bare bones, Feminism is all about gender equality, which, in theory at least, should transcend partisan politics.  But as prominent women (Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, for example) have recently entered the realm of presidential politics, Feminism, much like the notion of patriotism, has lent itself to subjective interpretation.

Over the last several decades, anytime women have sought admittance to traditionally all-male institutions, whether it be private clubs, the military, the clergy, universities, etc., the reception has been mixed and the inevitable, but most often valid charges of sexism have arisen.  The present presidential campaign has been no different.  In May of this year, I happened to be in the Portland airport when I noticed a man wearing a tee shirt that read "Life’s a Bitch, So Don’t Elect One."  To say that I was offended would be an understatement.  If American’s had been playing a drinking game during this political season and had to chug a beer every time they heard the word "bitch," Mrs. McCain would be one wealthy woman.  Wait a minute; she already is a wealthy woman.  

Then Sarah Palin burst upon the scene.  Her executive qualifications aside, the manner in which the McCain campaign chose to showcase her family, warts-and-all, and as some have implied, "use them as props," subjected her to certain sexist ridicule (of which I am as culpable as the next person), that in retrospect, seems nearly as disgraceful as the thinly-veiled bigotry aimed at Barack Obama by the motley crew that are John McCain’s surrogates.  Like millions of devotees of Saturday Night Live, I was rolling on the floor laughing at Tina Fey’s masterful mockery of Sarah Palin.  Her performance was the gift that keeps on giving for me as less than a couple of days later, I was once again rolling on the floor laughing at Carly Fiorina’s accusation that the Tina Fey sketch was somehow sexist.  

Let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about an issue that really has sexist overtones.  One in which there is no grey area.  And one for which political candidates can tell us exactly where they stand; no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s Time for Working Women to Earn Equal Pay.

Equal pay has been the law since 1963. But today, nearly 45 years later, women are still paid less than men—even with similar education, skills and experience.

In 2007, women were paid only 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Economist Evelyn Murphy, president and founder of The WAGE Project, estimates the wage gap costs the average full-time U.S. woman worker between $700,000 and $2 million over the course of her work life.

Where do the presidential candidates and their respective political parties stand on this issue?  It’s simple.  Obama/Biden are for "Equal Pay for Equal Work" and have been long before entering the 2008 Presidential contest.  Not surprisingly, the McCain/Palin ticket opposes this legislation.  Senate Republicans killed the so-called "Lilly Ledbetter Bill," which Obama co-sponsored, that would have counteracted a Supreme Court decision limiting how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination.  McCain claimed to support the notion of "equal pay," but failed to show to vote on the bill that he opposed on the basis that would "open us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems."  Sounds like something that George W. Bush would say, nes pa?  Sarah Palin also pays lip service to "equal pay" but, like McCain and the rest of the GooPers, opposes legislation that would facilitate workers’ grievances in this regard.

In other words, they support equal pay as a theory, but they don't support an effective remedy for women who don't discover within 180 days that they are being paid less than male employees doing the same work. McCain and Palin want to continue to give discriminating employers an easy way to avoid the law: keep pay decisions secret for 180 days, and they get a pass for their illegal conduct. It's nice to know that some things never change, including Republican support for business interests over employees' rights.

Talk about sexism all you want, but in my humble opinion, the true test of which presidential ticket is Pro-Woman comes down to where they stand on the issue of  "Equal Pay for Equal Work."

Originally posted to mojave mike on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:01 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site